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BridgeWave Communications, a market leader in the development and deployment of high capacity microwave and millimeter wave backhaul and front-haul solutions, is set to accelerate its growth and footprint in the Middle East following the regional launch of its NAVIGATOR DT systems at GITEX Technology Week.

The new product been described as 'groundbreaking' by some industry peers - and the NAVIGATOR systems offer performance and capabilities that is currently unrivalled in the licensed microwave sector. The product has been specifically designed to optimize networks for high capacity, whilst decreasing capital and operational costs at the same time.

Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with the charismatic Director of Sales in MEA at BridgeWave Communications, Bernard Richa at GITEX. In a compelling and fascinating interview, Richa outlined the technical specifications of the new products the US firm has introduced, and expressed his confidence in the impact he believes these new products will have on the industry.

Richa told Telecom Review, "This year, we're releasing new major products in our product families. We have microwave and millimeter wave products. The millimeter wave is called E-BAND, which is on the 80GHz spectrum - and the microwave has band from 6GHz to 42GHz, that gives you all the licensed microwave bands. We really believe that we have released a product that represents a paradigm shift in the industry. In the last fifteen years, all the key players in the microwave industry have been working on capacities around 100MG-400MG."

Richa stated his belief that we were now seeing a new era of microwave, and insisted that BridgeWave Communications was now firmly established as one of the most prominent market leaders in this space - and highlighted its new products would only cement that status and reputation further.

Richa added, "BridgeWave is now one of the industry leaders because we have a product that can shift capacity of the microwave all the way from 1GB-5.5GB as a microwave communication. Microwave is now complimenting fiber, at one point in time there were different technologies for communication globally if I want to position it physically between fiber from submarine cables to FTTH. You have satellite communication to access remote areas, and you have the microwave from point-to-point. So all these technologies are evolving, and we're the leaders in terrestrial point-to-point microwave and with the microwave today, it is now catching up to the high capacities that we're seeing in fiber, so we're very excited."

The Director of Sales in MEA for BridgeWave disclosed that the NAVIGATOR DT systems were generating a lot of enquiries from prospective clients in the GCC region - and said it was evident that there was a huge demand amongst various industry vendors for the new products.

Richa said, "It's just been released here in the Middle East, but it's already been deployed in North America. We've received huge interest from various segments ranging from tier 1 mobile Carriers, to tier-to-tier ISP's (Internet Service Providers) from the Gulf region and North Africa. So we're seeing a lot of demand for the product and we're really excited about that. It's got phenomenal capabilities and the microwave can reach distances from 10km-50km depending on the configuration - and that has captured the attention of the industry."

Richa disclosed details of its target customers and the breakdown of its market segmentation - and highlighted that its focus was split between two categories. He added, "At BridgeWave, we do a vertical niche product, we don't do a horizontal product line, so that differentiates us from our competitors. We work only on the transmission aspect, which is the wireless backbone, so our focus is actually sort of split from our market history, market coverage and global footprint. It's basically a split between mobile carriers, which represent around 20-30% of our market share or segmentation, and ISP's, tier-to-tier ISP's and data service providers, and this is a big, big market for us when it's applicable."

Richa has been tasked with the responsibility of managing the sales division in the MEA region since 2009, which is the year BridgeWave first introduced its products to the Gulf region. However, according to Richa the Middle East is now a key market for the US-based organization and revealed that BridgeWave has enjoyed consistent success in the region since its inception to the market here.

Richa said, "We've been here since 2009, and it's now one of our key strategic markets globally. It's a growing market, and year-on-year we've managed to either increase revenue or market growth. Technology evolution can impact and change the market dynamics, and whilst there will always be changes in technology, we've thankfully continued to grow, and we expect that growth to accelerate with the introduction of our new products to the market."

When pressed on what were some of the major industry challenges facing BridgeWave in the Gulf region, Richa claimed that regulatory hurdles in some countries in the Middle East were problematic and added that cost varied across different nations. In addition to this, establishing a footprint for the adoption of new technologies and business models also remains a challenge. However, despite some of the obstacles, Richa stressed that overall BridgeWave was delighted with its progress in the Middle East area.

Richa concluded by saying, "There are challenges in the industry in relation to regulation in some countries. For example, let's take the millimeter wave or the 80GHz product. It's actually designed to offload congested microwave bands, so the stimulus was innovated, in order to offload all of this - and primarily give you more capacity in the spectrum. We develop product on a higher spectrum - it's 80GHz versus the lower 6GHz-42GHz. In the US, the cost to deploy a link as a license is $75 for ten years, in the Middle East it varies from country-to-country. So for example in the UAE, the cost is 6,000AED per-year, although still acceptable because the microwave or the Wi-Fi is almost doubled or tripled. However, if you want to deploy a Wi-Fi link outdoor in the UAE it will cost you 16,000AED if you want to register it with the TRA. So one challenge is the regulatory environment and the other is to get a quick footprint in the whole area with new diverse business models, procedures and the adoption of new technologies, but so far we're doing really well in the region, and we're delighted with our progress."

The future is certainly bright for BridgeWave Communications both globally and in the Middle East region. With the dynamic Bernard Richa at the helm of its sales team combined with the introduction of its new cutting-edge, revolutionary products, it will help the firm maintain its growth and continue to enhance its presence in the region.

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